State bat­tles debt af­ter a year of pop­ulist of­fer­ings

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Suren­dra P Gan­gan suren­dra.gan­gan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

MUM­BAI: Scrap­ping lo­cal body tax and ex­empt­ing cars from pay­ing toll tax, among other pop­ulist mea­sures, is cost­ing the state ex­che­quer dear.

The un­ex­pected bur­den of Rs10,000 crore to­ward drought re­lief has in­creased the state govern­ment’s bud­get deficit to more than Rs13,000 crore. Th­ese fac­tors will not only lead to cuts in de­vel­op­ment schemes, but also make pre­par­ing the state’s bud­get for 2016-17 a dif­fi­cult task for fi­nance min­is­ter Sud­hir Mun­gan­ti­war.

To make mat­ters worse for him, the col­lec­tion of rev­enue from key sources like sales tax and ex­cise duty is likely to be at least 10% less than ex­pected.

As Mun­gan­ti­war presents the state BJP govern­ment’s se­cond bud­get on Fri­day, he has the un­en­vi­able task of try­ing to strike a bal­ance.

The cur­rent year’s bud­get deficit is ex­pected to shoot up to Rs13,000 crore, from the Rs3,757 crore Mun­gan­ti­war es­ti­mated in 2015-16 bud­get.

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